By Thomas Stillwagon |Staff Writer|
Why Occupy, a multimedia art exhibit dedicated to the “Occupy” movement, opened in Los Angeles on Thursday, Feb. 9.
More than 400 people attended the opening, which was part of the city’s monthly Art Walk event. The exhibit was housed at 118 Winston, a small art gallery in downtown Los Angeles owned by artist Stephen Zeigler.
Los Angeles based art collective the Recruiter Syndicate was responsible for the show. The group included an array of mediums in their project, from photography and paintings to audio recordings and video.
One piece included a large tent that lived on the City Hall grounds during the occupation. Attendees of the exhibit were encouraged to climb into the tent.
Inside, in addition to some usual camp furnishings (a sleeping bag and cot, a copy of George Orwell’s 1984, a flashlight), attendees found a television set which played interviews of occupiers filmed at City Hall.
Natural grass was included on the gallery floor to add to the authenticity. A large collection of signs used in “Occupy” protests were included as well. Protest chants were played through hidden speakers and could be heard continuously in the distance, as if at any point protesters were going to walk through the door and crash the event, which at one point they actually did.
“Occupy Los Angeles,” which was not officially affiliated with the exhibit, staged a march of 100 occupiers from Los Angeles City Hall to the event to show support.
The crowd made themselves right at home in the exhibit. Some brought hand drums to play and others brought items to add to the art exhibit.
Casey Black, an occupier who lived at City Hall for the entirety of the occupation, attended the event. He brought a pair of shoes to put in front of the tent exhibit and his friends brought more protest signs. “This is so cool,” said Black as he climbed into the tent installation. “It feels like I’m home again.”
By the middle of the evening, the event had a line wrapped around the street outside. The gallery, which probably only holds 50 people at a time, was constantly at full capacity.
Eduardo Garcia, a member of the Recruiter Syndicate collective, said that close to fifty artists worked on Why Occupy.
“The Recruiter Syndicate continues to fight the fears and insecurities of both the viewer and the artists,” said Garcia. “We stand in solidarity behind everyone’s combined talent to tell a story too big for one person to cover. Our grass roots project lives on the donated time, expertise and equipment of its members.”
If you missed the exhibit, Why Occupy will be coming to the CSUSB campus April 6 as part of Eco Fest.
“The Recruiter Syndicate is currently using Why Occupy to provide an outlet for artists and independent media to show what we found when we went to Occupy Los Angeles,” said Garcia. “We are excited to bring it back to San Bernardino. It has been a huge success for the group and we continue seeking new venues to spread awareness. We encourage people to seek their own answers.”
For more information on future Why Occupy art exhibits, or events visit theRecruiterSyndicate.com|